It’s important to know when a mole or skin lesion may need to be examined or removed.
While it’s perfectly normal for your skin to change with age, it’s important to know when a mole or skin lesion may be a cause for concern. Here’s a guide to determining when worrying is warranted:
A common mole is one that is small; pink, tan or brown; and has a definite edge. According to the National Cancer Institute, if you have more than 50 common moles you’re at an increased risk of developing melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. And regardless of the number of moles you may have, a mole that doesn’t fall within the characteristics of a common mole can sometimes be a sign of skin cancer. Perform a monthly self-exam, and use the American Academy of Dermatology body mole map to monitor moles.
Follow the American Melanoma Foundation ABCD guide to spotting signs of melanoma. “A” stands for asymmetry. “B” stands for border irregularity. “C” stands for color. “D” stands for diameter. A mole can be cause for concern if has one part that looks different than another part, doesn’t have a distinct border, is multicolored or is larger than 6 millimeters in diameter.
- If you have a suspicious mole or skin lesion that lasts for 2 weeks or more, it may be a sign of a problem. A new mole or lesion, changes in the color or size of a mole, itching, oozing, bleeding, tenderness and discomfort are all possible symptoms of skin cancer.
See your doctor or dermatologist for an annual skin cancer screening, as well as if you have any worrisome symptoms. Diagnosed early, melanoma is almost always curable, but it can spread and become deadly quickly. For more information about moles and skin lesions, or to schedule an appointment with a doctor, visit The Medical Center of Plano online or call 1-855-665-TMCP for a physician referral.